The pen stroke of a poet. The flourish of a painter's brush. The tangled staff notes of a musician. The baker and owner of Yummy Bakes, Iris Rodriguez, likens the way she narrates celebrations through custom cakes and cupcakes to the works of any other artist. She sculpts 3-D desserts to reflect the focus of festivities, commemorating nuptials with four tiers of a ribbon-adorned cake in Tiffany blue and birthdays with an edible castle of bubblegum-pink turrets inhabited by princesses. Cartoon characters from Angry Birds and Sesame Street emerge in colorful twists of frosting and fondant, delighting birthday celebrants and confusing Martians trying to understand Earth’s food chain. Iris sometimes weaves her stories by embellishing sweets with edible photographs and images.:m]]
Scoops 'n more sweetens snack time with 20-plus flavors of ice cream and yogurt, including traditional, sugar-free, low-fat, and kosher options. The interactive process begins when a Scoops employee piles one, two, or three mounds into a cone or bowl, at which point customers can either have their treat dipped in bronze for display, or they can head over to the self-serve toppings station. Mini M&M’s, Oreo cookie crumbs, and dark-chocolate espresso drops decorate dessert masterpieces before the creamy concoction is weighed and priced. Scoops 'n more’s arsenal of premium goodies is also available during onsite birthday parties or from the shop’s cart, which rolls up to offsite gatherings stocked with frozen fun and is friendly enough to pet.
Chef Gwynn Galvin combines her culinary craftsmanship with the entrepreneurial guidance of her son Bryan Mueller to churn out more than 30 varieties of homemade, artisan cupcakes. Gwynn shrinks her signature cheesecake into a microcosm of goodness with cheesecake cupcakes (a $29 value/dozen), dishing out decadent meal-sealers in flavors such as cappuccino cheesecake, peanut-butter-cup cheesecake, and classic Italian cheesecake. Regular cupcakes ($23/dozen) include perennial tongue-pleasers such as red velvet, mochachino, and blackout brownie, a palm's worth of brownie cake with milk-chocolate ganache topping and the ability to erase one's memory. Fruity flavors such as lip-smacking lemon, caribbean coconut, and orangesicle make a light, fluffy treat for brunch dessert or a pre-marathon snack.
Open since 1947, Millers Bakery offers a wide array of freshly baked goodies, from seasonally themed cookies to decadent cream cakes. Early-morning risers can wake up with a ring or filled donut ($0.85 each), with tempting varieties such as oat bran, cinnamon, powdered jelly, and chocolate French. Gift a special someone a frosting-laden hazelnut cream or carrot cake specialty cupcake ($1.95 each). Pumpkin, apple, and blueberry pies ($8.50 for 8-inch pie) will be hot commodities for those looking for dessert on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Three Stooges reenactment day. Those who reject sugary pastries can simply stock up on Irish soda bread ($3.50 for 1.2 oz.) or grab a 20 oz. cup of house-blend coffee to go ($1.75).
Though their careers are rooted in the comfort food of classic diners, according to NorthJersey.com, Main Street Grille and Tavern's owners wanted to recast the dishes they knew so well in friendlier, homier environs. That's why they opened the tavern, where chocolate-colored booths welcome diners to cluster around wood tables and savor grilled steaks and burgers, pasta drizzled with alfredo sauce, and customizable pizzas. Away from the dining room, the bar's flat screens flicker with the current sports game or election arm-wrestling match, and on some evenings, the music from local bands permeates the air.
Doing double duty as a hat maker to the stars, with his chapeaus topping the crowns of Eva Longoria and Charlize Theron, Naftali Abenaim possesses an artful eye. This aesthetic touch helped him in his time working as a pastry chef in Manhattan hotels and led him to open Mocha Bleu, where he uses his skills to appeal to diners’ tendencies to “eat with their eyes first.” To this end, Abenaim designed the restaurant to get people excited about his food before they even sit down, with transparent Philippe Starck seating, walls coated in silvery-blue mosaic, and crisp, white napkins at every table.
His kitchen constructs pescetarian- and vegetarian-friendly dishes with European flavors in what Abenaim calls generous, “American-sized portions,” as opposed to those scaled to Luxemburg. Presentation plays a large part in the appeal of his food. A French patisserie welcomes patrons upon entering, a comfortable lounge sports WiFi, and a cherry-wood burning oven stands in the center of the dining area, where chefs put a golden-brown edge on pizzas and calzones loaded with nonmeat ingredients, such as savory mock pepperoni and mock chicken or mock crabmeat and shrimp. The poutine embodies the regional cuisine of Abenaim’s Canadian home by presenting tables with a freshly baked pile of julienne fries topped with rich gravy and mozzarella.:m]]